Immune organs and immune cells on a chip: An overview of biomedical applications

Margaretha A.J. Morsink, Niels G.A. Willemen, Jeroen Leijten, Ruchi Bansal, Su Ryon Shin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
171 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the immune system is of great importance for the development of drugs and the design of medical implants. Traditionally, two-dimensional static cultures have been used to investigate the immune system in vitro, while animal models have been used to study the immune system's function and behavior in vivo. However, these conventional models do not fully emulate the complexity of the human immune system or the human in vivo microenvironment. Consequently, many promising preclinical findings have not been reproduced in human clinical trials. Organ-on-a-chip platforms can provide a solution to bridge this gap by offering human micro-(patho)physiological systems in which the immune system can be studied. This review provides an overview of the existing immune-organs-on-a-chip platforms, with a special emphasis on interorgan communication. In addition, future challenges to develop a comprehensive immune system-on-chip model are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number849
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2020


  • 3D in vitro model
  • Immune cells
  • Immune system
  • Immune system-on-a-chip
  • Microfluidics
  • Organ-on-a-chip


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